17 Feb 2023

Chilean growth plans continue for blueberries


Chile is committed to discovering new and improved cultivars of blueberry that offer consumers an exceptional taste and texture experience.

The world market for Chilean blueberries is set to grow thanks to research and the introduction of new technologies for cultivation, harvesting, packaging and transportation. The fruit is a concentrate of vitamins C and K, rich in manganese and potassium and therefore quite in demand. Below, Helena Beckett of Giddings Berries USA answers some of our questions about the resurgence of Chile's blueberries .

How has the Chilean season unfolded so far? Has it lived up to expectations?

It has been a fast season. It started a little later than we expected, but the peak came quickly than last year. Everything came in on time. For Giddings, quality was better this year than last year because we focused on quality standards, eliminating the time from cutting to cooling and speeding up delivery to the U.S. market. We also stopped exports earlier than before because of quality problems related to rain and high summer temperatures.

What are the challenges currently facing the industry?

Chile's extensive geography makes logistics difficult in terms of transporting product from farms to warehouses and packaging facilities. The distance to market, from the United States, Europe, and Asia, is much greater than that of domestic production and that of Mexico and Peru.Focusing on faster logistics from Chile to market and investing in better varieties is critical to delivering the quality demanded by the market.

What is Chile doing, or what should it do, to address these challenges?

First, focus on newer varieties. Second, focus on areas that have a short distance between the farm, cooling, packing plant, and easy access to ports. Quality, food experience, and shelf life are the demands of the market. Focusing on the end consumer is key to increasing demand.

Helena Beckett, commercial director of Giddings Berries USA.
Helena Beckett, commercial director of Giddings Berries USA.

What sets Chilean blueberries apart from the competition?

At this time of year, other acidifying regions do not produce much, so Chile has the best supply volume for the United States for the December/January period.

In your view, what is the near future of the industry and what are your expectations?

I think Chile will continue to be a player as long as we focus on the best varieties, getting the product to market faster and sending only the best quality, as there is now increasing competition from other growing regions. All is well if we are focused and competitive with other supply regions.

Data on area and production of blueberries in Chile from 2010 to 2021.

How important is data to you as a trader at blueberries?

The data is very important to quantify and qualify the quality of the fruit when it arrives in the United States, so from the trader's point of view we use the data of when it left the origin and when it arrives in the United States, and this is a very important part of our process.

We review the quality inspections of the fruit against USDA inspections and those we need to move it within the United States, and then we do the same quality control report upon arrival. Sometimes, within a couple of days of arrival, we do another inspection because transit time greatly affects fruit quality and shelf life. Historical volume data is a useful resource for forecasting future supply."

Potrebbe interessarti anche